October 2, 2023

The brand new yr brings alternative for considerate reflection concerning the previous yr, each personally and professionally. 2022 was a yr of firsts for me—first time having clam chowder at Pike Place Market as a neighborhood, first time going looking for heels with my daughter, and first time delivering an Azure keynote at Encourage as a Microsoft worker when pre-COVID-19, I used to be a Accomplice listening within the viewers. And right here is one other first; the beginning of a brand new weblog sequence the place I plan to share extra about noteworthy and galvanizing knowledge and AI improvements we’re releasing throughout Microsoft. Given the National Retail Federation’s Big Show this week, I’ll additionally spotlight how these improvements influence retail.

Let’s discover what’s new for Azure Information & AI this month:

Microsoft underscores resilient retail at NRF

A bellwether for financial and societal tendencies, the retail business continues to be on the entrance line of adaptive innovation. And slightly than attempting to foretell the longer term, retailers are working to realize larger enterprise agility essential to thrive in it. Which means, like Majid Al Futtaim Retail, they automate tedious processes so staff can concentrate on higher-value duties. Like Grupo Bimbo, they unify disparate knowledge factors in actual time in order that staff can entry a central supply of fact when and the place they want it. And, like CCC Group, they keep laser-focused on delivering differentiated buyer experiences to construct loyal followers. Throughout every of those organizations, knowledge is seen as an accelerant for development, powering extra personalised buyer experiences, cost-efficient provide chains, and proactive responses to market tendencies.

Enterprise agility requires individuals, processes, and applied sciences to work in concord, and to align on how huge quantities of knowledge are managed, analyzed, and actioned to reply to market calls for. More and more, these efforts concentrate on driving sustainable development that limits carbon emissions, for instance by utilizing machine studying to extra precisely forecast demand to scale back extra stock and waste.

We all know cloud applied sciences like databases, containers, and AI can allow extra correct selections, however it may be difficult to make sure these applied sciences converse to one another in the suitable means on the proper time on a world scale. That is the place Azure and the Microsoft Clever Information Platform—the outline we use to discuss with the entire Information & AI Azure services we provide shine. With managed databases like Cosmos DB, analytics companies like Azure Synapse, and main AI choices, retailers can reap the benefits of the “by design” integration the Microsoft Clever Information Platform affords, which implies they’re able to make investments extra time in creating worth slightly than integrating and managing their knowledge property.

The Microsoft Clever Information Platform got here to life by means of new immersive demo experiences this yr at NRF and I’m going to briefly spotlight what we showcased on the convention. Earlier this week at NRF, Microsoft’s Alysa Taylor and Shelley Bransten spoke on the subject of Resilient Retail and shared examples of organizations digitizing their companies to do extra with much less. You’ll be able to learn extra about their talks on our Industry blog.

Microsoft additionally met with clients at our NRF sales space to debate methods for making sense of all their knowledge. For instance, these two demos spotlight how tight integrations between knowledge, analytics, and AI can assist make resilient retail a actuality.

Huge World Importers (WWI), a world grocery store chain, desires to maximise the worth of their knowledge property. By utilizing Azure Synapse pipelines with Cosmos DB, they get actual time insights that are mechanically shared with the suitable choice makers by means of instruments like Azure Data Explorer and Power BI. They’re capable of observe their provide chain knowledge in actual time and use predictive AI to scale back prices. They’re additionally capable of govern their knowledge property from a single utility one pane of glass utilizing Microsoft Purview.

Subsequent, Huge World Importers faucets into the ability of Azure AI to construct a extra linked buyer expertise. They use Azure Form Recognizer to detect and redeem promotional affords. Azure Cognitive Search helps clients discover product info extra shortly by recognizing their search intent and helps WWI ship extra personalised suggestions. Pre-built AI capabilities, resembling speech recognition and laptop imaginative and prescient, additionally differentiate the procuring expertise and supply a extra accessible circulate.

The overall availability of Azure OpenAI Service 

As Eric Boyd talked about in his weblog, we introduced the final availability of Azure OpenAI Service as a part of our ongoing partnership with OpenAI. Azure OpenAI Service offers a commercialization platform for companies to leverage superior AI fashions like GPT-3.5, Codex, and DALL*E to create progressive functions. Clients of all sizes throughout industries are utilizing Azure OpenAI Service to do extra with much less, enhance experiences for finish customers, and streamline operational efficiencies. 

Microsoft Accountable AI Dashboard now out there

The digitization of retail permits retailers to fulfill buyer expectations with rising precision, from offering personalized suggestions on-line to restocking stock based mostly on computer vision in bodily shops. Customers anticipate the expertise behind their retail expertise to use knowledge and AI responsibly. In December, we started rolling out our new Responsible AI dashboard in Azure Machine Studying, which incorporates capabilities like equity evaluation, interpretability, error evaluation, and causal inferencing. And at the moment, we’re excited to announce the final availability of the Microsoft Accountable AI dashboard. Retailers can leverage the Accountable AI dashboard to optimize the patron’s expertise in addition to construct belief and constructive notion for his or her manufacturers.

See how one can learn more about Responsible AI.

Full textual content search capabilities come to Azure Cosmos DB for Apache Cassandra

Azure Cosmos DB has seen large momentum throughout the retail business, given its capability to mechanically and immediately scale when visitors is unpredictable with out sacrificing efficiency or value effectivity. Microsoft runs each the Home windows retailer and Xbox Stay on Azure Cosmos DB for this very goal. This month, we’re saying a number of efficiency enhancements to Azure Cosmos DB to make it simpler and quicker for builders to question knowledge shops in Azure Cosmos DB. These embody the power to do full textual content searches in Azure Cosmos DB for Apache Cassandra by means of a local integration with Azure Cognitive Search, and help for GraphQL and REST by means of Information API builder.

For extra technical element about these and different updates to Azure Cosmos DB, visit our developer blog.

JSON help for Azure Cache for Redis Enterprise typically out there

Help for JSON paperwork in Azure Cache for Redis Enterprise tiers, delivered by way of the RedisJSON module, has been made typically out there as of November 2022. This turns Azure Cache for Redis Enterprise right into a high-performance NoSQL doc retailer and drives effectivity for builders to modernize their functions. The brand new RedisJSON module replace is properly suited to retail clients seeking to retailer, search, and index product catalogs and shopper knowledge by way of a single atomic operation.

To be taught extra on Azure Cache for Redis Enterprise and the RedisJSON module please check out the blog.

Microsoft named a Chief within the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Perception Engines

In December, Microsoft was named a frontrunner within the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Perception Engines, which evaluates the capabilities of assorted distributors out there for offering enterprise-scale seek for app improvement. Organizations profit, irrespective of the business, however Cognitive Search is an exceptionally highly effective instrument for retailers, serving to them to shortly discover and analyze knowledge associated to buyer habits, gross sales, and stock. It will also be used to personalize the procuring expertise for particular person clients based mostly on their previous interactions and preferences.

Study extra and download the report.

Clients innovating with Azure Information & AI

I’d like to shut my inaugural “what’s new” weblog submit with my favourite means of creating all the pieces I’ve coated above actionable—by sharing examples of our clients succeeding. I share them as a means of serving to spark the understanding—possibly even slightly creativeness—in order that others can higher envision how this superb new Information & AI expertise can be utilized in their very own organizations.

I hope you loved studying this month’s version of what’s new in Azure Information & AI. We look ahead to sharing extra insights and inspiration within the months forward.


Grupo Bimbo transforms the info evaluation of economic areas with Microsoft Options

Mexico—The worldwide baking firm carries out a whole lot of 1000’s of transactions globally and wanted a means for collaborators to shortly entry and act on insights to enhance gross sales. By adopting Energy BI and Azure Synapse, Grupo Bimbo was capable of unify inner and exterior knowledge, improve enterprise agility, and democratize insights for elevated productiveness throughout the group. Read the full Case Study.


How on-line market CDON used AI to turn out to be a market chief

Sweden—CDON started as a small on-line retailer of CDs, DVDs, and video games and shortly turned the Nordic’s largest on-line market. When CDON realized legacy applied sciences had been holding it again, the corporate seemed to Azure to speed up its innovation and scale. Now their builders use Azure Cognitive Search, Azure DevOps, and different companies to higher perceive the consumer expertise on their web site and improve personalization for higher efficiency. Read the full CDON Case Study.


How AEON Group elevated earnings and maximized stock with knowledge and AI

Japan—Since opening its first retailer in December 2005, Maibasuketto, a member of the AEON Group’s grocery store enterprise, has expanded its footprint at a tempo of 100 shops yearly. To make sure its development was sustainable, the corporate launched into an initiative to optimize retailer ordering and operations utilizing Azure Cognitive Providers, maximizing provide chain and stock based mostly on promoting patterns all through the day.


How Fashable reimagines style design with Azure Machine Studying and PyTorch

Portugal—Utilizing Azure Machine Studying, Fashable created an AI utility that generates unique clothes designs to shortly get a pulse on client preferences. This helps style corporations perceive buyer demand, get to market quicker, and scale back clothes waste by solely producing what they know will promote. Read the full Fashable Case Study.


WTW accelerates supply time with Azure Migration and Analytics

United Kingdom—Working in additional than 140 nations with over 40,000 staff, Willis Towers Watson (WTW) has a long time of expertise working with the world’s largest loyalty packages. To effectively govern the exponential development in knowledge for these packages and apply improvements in superior analytics and AI, WTW moved its workload to Azure. Now their staff have extra time to concentrate on uncovering insights for shoppers. Read the full WTW Case Study.